The Influence of the Renaissance on Richard Hooker

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ABSTRACT

Like many writers after the Renaissance, Hooker was influenced by a number of classical and Neo-Platonic texts, especially by Cicero, Seneca, Hermes Trimegistus, and Pseudo-Dionysius. Hooker’s regular allusions to these thinkers help illuminate his own work but also his place within the broader European context and the history of ideas. This paper addresses in turn the reception of Cicero and Seneca in the early Church through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Hooker’s use of Ciceronian and Senecan ideas, and finally Hooker’s use of Neo-Platonic texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus and Dionysius the Areopagite. Hooker will be shown to distinguish himself as a sophisticated and learned interpreter who balances distinctive motifs such as Scripture and tradition, faith, reason, experience, and ecclesiology with a complex appeal to pagan and Christian sources and ideas.

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